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Male, British, ex-RAF. Finished last DM album review!

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since 14/02/2006


Amazon Kindle Keyboard Wi-Fi Only 02/12/2012

Not the great product they want you see

Amazon Kindle Keyboard Wi-Fi Only I'm not exactly sure why Amazon are so eager for me to review the Kindle, especially as I've only owned the darn thing for only a month now. Frankly I've barely scratched the surface of its documented abilities but I'll do my best to talk about what I've encountered thus far. (After a years ownership with a now fully unlocked Kindle having used ALL it's functions I have now edited this review, edits clearly marked and in Italics) Instructions:- You'll get some frankly awful paper instructions that tell you little to nothing. You'll also get instructions on the Kindle itself, in fact it'll be the very first document you encounter after switching the Kindle on. They aren't very useful and don't really contain anything particularly helpful to you as a potential owner. The instructions seem to be oriented towards people who have already owned a Kindle, they aren't for a newbie. If you have any specific queries my advice would be to join the Facebook Kindle group, you'll get answers fast from them. The Kindle - I went with the black one, its more off grey than black though. The screen is a decent size (as a man I'm not sure that really IS 6 inches!) and with the ability to resize text (look for the Aa button) pretty much anyone who can see can use a Kindle to read. I've only used mine to read MOBI files but Amazon say you can read TXT and PDF as well. It's stunning that the Kindle can't use EPUB but thats just Amazon being stubborn format bitches in my humble opinion. I can't ...

Infinity Within - Deee-Lite 21/10/2011

Satisfaction within

Infinity Within - Deee-Lite Infinity Within is the second album by Deee-Lite (who at the time comprised of Lady Miss Kier Kirby, Super DJ Dimitri Brill & Jungle DJ Towa Tei) and it was released by Elektra on June 23, 1992. This was much less successful in terms of sales as its best recorded chart position was #37 on the UK Albums Chart. Its possible that as this was a more socially aware album covering issues such as voting, safe sex & the Ozone layer it was too ahead of its time for when it was released which may account for its poor chart showing. Both the album and the single for I Had a Dream I Was Falling through a Hole in the Ozone Layer was issued in an eco-friendly package called the eco-pack that was mostly paper packaging that the customer folded into the shape of a traditional CD case once purchased. So whats on Infinity Within then? 1 "I.F.O. (Identified Flying Object)" (featuring Arrested Development) 2:55. This one kicks off with a few samples and a funky breakbeat before you get Kier's vocal submitted to a rather unusual muted treatment so as to make her sound a long way off, as if broadcasting over a ham radio. Arrested Development provide the main rapped lyrics with Kier filling in the odd call & response section. Oddest lyric in this track? "We're trying to conduct a fax orgy". 2 "Runaway" 3:54 This was the 1st single released off the album and spent 10 weeks on the Billboard dance chart reaching #1 (on July 18th 1992) where it stayed for 1 week after coming in at #10. And we're ...

Mockingjay - Scholastic 28/07/2011

not to be Mocked!

Mockingjay - Scholastic Mockingjay is the third and final book of the Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins. Picking up where book 2, Catching Fire left off we rejoin Katniss who has just been rescued from almost certain death in her second Hunger Games. Alliances had been formed, thoughts of rebellion had been sown in the minds of the populace of the various Districts but now after recovering from her violent ejection from her last combat trial Katniss has no idea who is friend or foe any more. Most of her new life is documented in District 13, no longer a far off mythical place. Now set in concrete or rather firmly under it, hidden away from the prying eyes of the Capitol who seek to eliminate the last traces of any resistance to their regime. Would that they could have it their way but these are last the days of the Roman Empire as it were. Panem has been revealed as the Latin quotation for Bread And Circuses, the ancient Roman games of yore. However with her escape and defiance as a cat amongst the pidgeons, or Katniss amongst the Mockingjays to be more accurate to the story. She is the spark to start the fire, hers is the name that is the call to battle, hers is the face on the banner of freedom. Katniss has in fact become the ultimate figurehead, Boadicea, Eva Peron or even Joan Of Arc. Her relationship with Peeta has gone beyond complicated now he has been captured by the Capitol, brainwashed and used to spread doubt amongst his fellow rebels. Peeta is used as a visual Lord Hawhaw ...

Catching Fire (Hunger Games Trilogy) - Suzanne Collins 28/07/2011

Will leave you wanting more

Catching Fire (Hunger Games Trilogy) - Suzanne Collins Catching Fire is the second book in the Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins. If you've already read book 1 you'll be familiar with Katniss, Peeta, and their fight for life. A quick recap of book 1 without spoiling it:- Panem is an area where North America used to be. After a conflict that isn't talked about too much but that caused rebellions against the ruling Capitol which spawned the original Hunger Games. A Death Match arena where 1 boy and girl from each of Panems 12 Districts are set against each other until only one is left alive - their prize is to live in total comfort for the rest of their lives. It is this that Katniss and Peeta have just survived, the first time the Hunger Games have had more than 1 winner. This book picks up where the first left off with the winners of the Hunger Games trying to settle back into some sort of normal life but all is not well in the state of Panem. It appears the rulers of the Capitol are more than aware of Katniss' personal transgressions outside her own District, thinly veiled threats are made to her by The President himself as she is told to step in line and act more like the winner she is. With this threat made there is no need for an "or else", "Or else" is death, hers, her family - whoever The President wishes to make examples of. On their winners tour she and Peeta manage to unwittingly spark the embers of a budding revolution in another District and to punish both Katniss and Peeta a special announcement is made at ...

Logitech B110 - mouse 24/06/2011

The user friendly rodent

Logitech B110 - mouse This mouse was purchased to replace another cheap Amazon purchased mouse (which I can't actually find so I can't name & shame the company who produced it) which was far too small for my hand and possibly the worst ergonomic design I'd ever encountered. (Actually once I found the mouse again I was able to ID it from its picture on Amazon as for some reason it didnt have the brand name anywhere on it, so makers of the Lupo USB mouse consider yourselves named and shamed) This mouse is the polar opposite, its an excellent design and fits my hand perfectly. I can't see this mouse not fitting anyone unless your a very young, small or petite person. It doesnt give any wrist pain issues and is very reactive and wonderful to use. If you are looking for a new mouse and have a black computer I can't recommend this mouse highly enough. In fact even if your PC isn't black buy it anyway, its just THAT good. Logitech is a well established name that can be trusted to produce good quality equipment for not much money and thats exactly what you'll get if you buy this mouse. I've had the mouse for a couple of months now and the only issue I've had is that 2 of the feet stickers came off but its not altered the excellent performance of this mouse. The scroll wheel broke in really quickly (which is normally quite a massive bugbear with most mice) and its easy to wipe clean. As far as installing goes simply plug it into an USB port and it's instantly detected by your PC and instantly usable ...

The Hunger Games - Suzanne Collins 11/06/2011

Hungry for a slightly longer book

The Hunger Games - Suzanne Collins So what can I tell you about the first in a trilogy of offerings from Suzanne Collins that no-one else has already mentioned? Lets cover the basics:- Dystopian future? Check. Protagonist living in difficult circumstances? Check. Likeable entourage cast? Check. Ideas blatently stolen from other books? Check. Ok, you are going to call me out on that last one so I'd better explain myself. Books set in dystopian futures are hardly new, heck they weren't even a new idea when Orwell was doing it in 1984. Our main character Katniss (her odd sounding name will be explained as you read, don't worry) is a teenaged girl who is part of a single parent family where she is the bread winner, quite literally in fact. Her home is not the Earth we know now, its North America (now referred to as Panem) 75 years after some sort of conflict that split it up into 12 districts. Each of these districts has a specific function within society, District 12 is a coal mine with all its associated dangers. Its clear at some point her society has tried and failed to rail against authority and this has led to the creation of The Hunger Games, the ultimate Death Match. Held every year, each District has a ballot to select one boy and one girl to be sent into this combat arena where the last person standing is afforded a lifestyle others can only merely dream of. She isn't chosen to be a participant, that particular "honour" goes to Prim, her 12 year old sister who was taking part in the yearly ...

World Clique - Deee-Lite 20/05/2011

Welcome to the friendly clique!

World Clique - Deee-Lite World Clique is the 1st album by Deee-Lite (who at the time comprised of Lady Miss Kier on Vocals, Super DJ Dimitri on DJ/Scratching & Samples and DJ Towa Tei on DJ/Scratching, Samples & Keyboards) and it was released by Elektra Records on August 7th, 1990. The band met in New York with Kier writing vocals (as well as creating the bands image, costumes and all album graphics), Dmitri & Towa Tei bought different styles of DJ'ing & Towa Tei created additional rhythms on keyboards. Kier and Dmitri were a couple during their time in the band and Towa was friends with them both. It made for an unusual band dynamic but Towa never seemed like a gooseberry during performances. Its highest recorded chart position was #14 in the UK Top 40 album chart and the record attained Gold status by December of 1990. I bought this on cassette when I was doing my trade training at RAF Hereford where it proved to be a great source of comfort and relaxation during the constant pressures of studying. Despite Wikipedia's contrary claims "Deee-Lite Theme" & "Build the Bridge" WERE both included on the general album release, my cassette version certainly has both tracks on it. All tracks written by Deee-Lite unless otherwise stated. So whats on World Clique then? 1. "Deee-Lite Theme" (Deee-Lite, Herbie Hancock) 2:10 A great start with a rocking saxophone intro (most of the brass section on this is sampled from a Herbie Hancock tune) with Kier introducing us the World Clique movement from her ...

Metro 2033 - Dmitry Glukhovsky 18/05/2011

Something lost in translation

Metro 2033 - Dmitry Glukhovsky Metro 2033 is a post apocalyptic novel written by Russian author Dmitry Glukhovsky. The novel was translated from Russian so may suffer slightly in that respect. It is the story of a young man called Artyom who lives a completely dull life on the VDNKh station of the Moscow Metro undergound rail system. His origins are less than dull but not worth spoiling for the sake of a review, suffice to say his start in life is not an easy one but his life up to where we join it is less than spectacular. This is probably why when Hunter, a friend of his Uncle, turns up he decides to go out into the world beyond his station to fulfill the task Hunter gives him. The background of the book isn't great, no real explanation is given for the cause of what was obviously World War 3 which drove their ancestors into the Metro tunnels seeking shelter from the radiation. It is clearly some post nuclear situation as mutants and mutations are discussed and mentioned often, they are one of the many bogeymen that inhabit Artyoms underground world. Artyoms journey is one of those epic treks, overcoming massive odds, facing up to foreign political & idealogical views from his own. If you dont want to be fed Fascism, Cannabilism & Communism (amongst other things) then my advice would be to steer well clear of this book. Its fairly well written but its overly long for the sake of it, many things are described in the most minute of detail only to then be completely pointless with no relation to plot, ...

New & Improved - Julianne Regan 12/05/2011

All About Juliannes side project

New & Improved - Julianne Regan This was actually the second album by Mice, the first was "Because I Can". If the name Julianne Regan sounds familiar its because she was doing this after the initial break up of her more famous group All About Eve. Mice was headed by the lady herself and also featured Tim McTighe who played bass, Christian Hayes (also known as Bic for some reason) who played guitar, Andy Cousin who also played bass on a couple of tracks, Marty Wilson-Piper who also played guitar on a few tracks & Mark Price who played drums. In reality this isn't really a second album at all, its actually more like a rehash or "Best Of" album as it contains all of the tracks off Because I Can and a few b-sides, some remixes & some previously unreleased demo versions. The band Mice didn't exist very long as an entity so this album is pretty hard to find these day but its well worth it. They have a very indie sound and were classed as "shoegazers" so if you want acts to compare them to you could list them with bands like Lush or early Elastica. I found my copy on Amazon and it wasn't very expensive at all (actually it cost me nothing because I had an Amazon voucher at the time) and its very good value for money considering you get 19 tracks but they didn't makes a huge amount of copies of either Mice album and they were never advertised well (if at all) which resulted in very low sales and the record label went out of business after this album. So whats on New & Improved? 01 - Dear Sir. Writing ...

Kanguru Solutions Micro 2GB 24/04/2011

Great for music on the bounce

Kanguru Solutions Micro 2GB Kanguru might not be a name you know, I didn't know it either when I got my player. Their an American company based out of Massachusetts and they started out in the flash drive business later expanding to music players and external hard drives. My needs from a player were simple and few, a robust player that ran on AAA batteries (because they last a good while and cost stuff all), was light, easy to use and could hold a decent amount of data or music. It certainly does all these things and it does them very well indeed. Quickly, easily and with little fuss or bother. It's easy to pick up and start using too and it looks pretty sleek with its black plastic & silver metallic cover. The product itself is shipped in a plain white box marked Kanguru MP3 with a little plastic window that shows the player inside. The side label reveals it to be a 2GB player and it can easily hold 500 songs. Opening the box reveals a plastic holder with the player, a USB cable (can be used as an extension cable if you can't directly plug into a USB port), a registration card, instructions, installation cd, headphones & lanyard carrying strap. The player is shipped with a AAA battery (claims 10 Hour Battery Life) inside so you can use it right away. The player is just over three inches long so only just longer than the battery inside and USB port, it'll fit in any pocket as its not much thicker than the battery inside either. Putting music or data onto the player is simple, just remove the cap on ...

Ghostbusters (Original Soundtrack) - Soundtrack 24/04/2011

Music to bust Ghosts to

Ghostbusters (Original Soundtrack) - Soundtrack This is the soundtrack album to the highly successful Ghostbusters movie from 1984 which contains the following songs. (I have also listed the bonus tracks available on other releases of the album, also certain Amazon listings give incorrect artist details so I have cleared up the confusion here. The soundtrack listing does not list either of the Elmer Bernstein tracks) 01 - Ray Parker Jr - Ghostbusters (4:07) This song was a huge hit spending time at #1 in the US and reaching #2 in the UK, Ray Parker Jr was eventually sued by Huey Lewis for plagiarism of his song "I want a new drug" which was the musical basis for this tune. Lindsey Buckingham of Fleetwood Mac was also approached to write a theme song for Ghostbusters but turned the offer down. 02 - Bus Boys - Cleanin' Up The Town (3:00). Used twice in the movie 1stly just using the piano hook after the Ghostbusters run out of the library and also used behind the Ghostbusters 1st journey to their 1st proper bust (the "We got one" scene). Certain listings attribute this track to Kevin ONeal. 03 - Alessi - Savin' The Day (3:24) Used behind the Ghostbusters big entrance to Spook Central, this is another one that most people don't realise isn't an instrumental as the only section used was the electro style middle section. A song very much of its time written to appeal to the electro & breakdance markets. Certain listings attribute this track to Bobby Alessi. 04 - The Thompson Twins - In The Name Of Love (3:20) Used ...

Rocky IV [Remastered] - Various Artists 27/03/2011

Great collection of tunes

Rocky IV [Remastered] - Various Artists The Rocky IV Soundtrack is pretty much exactly what it says on the cover, the soundtrack of most of the music that appears in the Slyvester Stallone movie Rocky 4 that was released in 1985 to accompany the film. The album was remastered and rereleased in 2006. There are a few musical pieces that appear in the film that aren't on this album, most of those were composed by Vince DiCola. Its not often I actually get to look forward to the album I am reviewing but I loved this when it was released and bought it on cassette tape not long after so I could play it to death on my Sony Walkman and its provided many inspiring moments for running training sessions. Its rather odd that the tracks on the soundtrack aren't presented in the order they appear in the movie, I'll do my best to give a correct running order after the individual review of the tracks. Timings were taken from my copy of the album so may not be exact. So whats on The Rocky IV Soundtrack then? 1. Burning Heart - Survivor (3:54) A great guitar led rock anthem by a "hair" band of the time & Stallone personally commissioned it for the film. The track plays behind a scene of Rocky arriving in Russia. I really love the lyric "Is it East versus West or man against man" which is also a really good question too as Glasnost was still a way off into the future at this point. 2. Hearts On Fire - John Cafferty (4:05) One of the 2 "training sequence" songs that proved to be so inspiring to me as a runner as it has excellent ...

Lynx Fever Shower Gel 17/03/2011

Get the Fever

Lynx Fever Shower Gel Lynx Fever is one in a new range of Shower Gels/Bodywashes for men. It is orange in appearance & when you first use it you might find its quite cold to the skin, especially if you are in a quite hot bath or shower. My best advice there would be to run the bottle under your hot tap for a minute or so just to take the cold edge of it, it gives a completely different feel to the washing experience when warm as opposed to when the gel is cold. The label states the product contains Red Dragonfruit (I assume this is what gives it the very nice orangy smell that lasts a very long time) and Brazilian Hot Mud. I assume the Hot Mud is the small granular objects, dont be put off by their description as they are actually very good for cleansing the skin like a facial scrub. The smell and the mud combine to give an extremely refreshing wash that is also very invigorating, its a great way to wake up in the morning. You will certainly feel very alert after a wash using this product. A 250ml bottle costs around £2 but it lasts a long time, even having 2 or 3 showers a week mine lasted at least 6 weeks. Obviously don't go mad when applying it, and you can make it last but a small amount is plenty to wash with as the gel is very thick indeed, it lathers well & the mud elements make for a good cleansing skin scrub. As the gel is quite thick you will find like with most washing products the last few centimetres of the gel is very hard to squeeze out & use for a proper wash. What I did was ...

Playing the Angel - Depeche Mode 12/02/2011

Its not as angelic as it might appear

Playing the Angel - Depeche Mode Playing the Angel is the 11th album by Depeche Mode (who at the time comprised of Dave Gahan on lead & backup vocals, Martin Gore on keyboards, guitar, bass, backup & lead vocals and Andy Fletcher on keyboards & bass) and it was released by Mute on 17th October 2005. The albums title was taken from a line from the final track The Darkest Star. The album reached #1 in 12 different countries but its best outright sales performances was on the U.S. Billboard Top Electronic Albums where it retailed over 418,000 units, its sales across Europe accorded it double Platinium status in Germany, Italy, Sweden & Switzerland. All tracks written by Martin Gore unless otherwise stated. All lead vocals performed by Dave Gahan unless otherwise stated. So whats on Playing the Angel then? 1. "A Pain That I'm Used To" – 4:11. This was the 2nd single released on the 12th December 2005, its best recorded chart position was #1 in Hungary & Spain. Sirens? Oh dear, thats a bad beginning. Its very Nine Inch Nails at the start (no shock with Mr Gores known Industrial passions) but it devolves into Bladerunner by Vangelis (yes Martin, I CAN hear those chords behind Dave. Don't think someone wouldn't easily pick them out!). As far as high sonic range this one is going go to be all kinds of painful. I don't like it and I can't ever see me liking it. Seriously, this was number 1 in TWO countries? There's no accounting for taste I guess. 2. "John the Revelator" – 3:42. This was the 4th single ...

Only forward - Michael Marshall Smith 15/01/2011

Best foot forward!

Only forward - Michael Marshall Smith This is a great book. You won't read anything weirder. You could read everything Robert Rankin, Terry Pratchett & Douglas Adams wrote and you still won't find a book as weird as this. The main character is Stark, he's world weary but loves his cat Spangle. He's a fixer, he's the type of man people contact when they need "things" doing that would prove otherwise difficult or possibly illegal. He lives in what I assume is the fairly near future where people live in Neighbourhoods. That's Neighbourhood with a very definate capital N and they are places like Colour (where Stark lives & the inhabitants are only allowed on the streets at certain times if their wearing a certain colour, Cat (a place only inhabited by cats, you can only visit if you like cats otherwise the gates won't open to let you in. Spangle spends most of his time there), The Action Centre (surrounded by a very big wall is where people get things done, its for people who work hard and really want to be busy all the time) where Stark's friend Zenda lives & works, NatSci (where all the scientists & Engineers live and work) and Red (possibly the most dangerous place to live ever). Stark is hired by the Action Centre to find an Actioneer who has gone missing. The rest of the book details Stark's travels through various Neighbourhoods until he finds and rescues Fell Ackland, the man who was missing. Why he had actually left after making a discovery about a highly addictive drug which is prevalent in Starks world ...
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